Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Break

I will be taking a blogging break till the New Year........to hang out with these people :o)
Have a wonderful Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Remembering at Christmas


In our family, Christmas brings with it many memories and reminders. The reminder that our saviour has come and that we are missing a few members of our family. Our first son Jonah would be 5 1/2 years old this Christmas. I made our family stockings when my oldest was a baby, each year I would add the new member of the family. Naturally, I made Jonah a stocking the first Christmas we had without him. I am so glad I did. Every year we bring it out and remember. We write him a little note each year and place it in his stocking. My 7 year old gets them out each year and reads them....they are a treasured part of our Christmas.
I also purchased an ornament for him. Every year our children pick a new ornament for the tree. It seemed only fitting to get one for Jonah the first year after he left us. We also have purchased tiny little stockings for the two babies we lost to miscarriage at 12 weeks. The kids really wanted to do this and honestly so did I. We purchased an ornament for each the first Christmas after their loss. Each year we put the babies ornaments on the tree last as a way to honor them.
I can imagine others may think this is a form of torture......I can totally understand that thought. It isn't though. I miss my son and the dream of the two little ones with Jesus. I also love to remember the gift they were and that they are with Jesus and waiting. Though it does bring grief to the surface, it comes as a gift and treasure not a burden.
Merry Christmas in heaven little ones. See you soon!

Pulling One from the Archives

Reminder to myself today...........


"We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings or our feelings;
it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives to the soul rest."
"Keep thine eye on Him;
let His death,
His suffering,
His merits,
His glories,
His intercession,
be fresh upon your mind;
When thou wakest in the morning look to Him; When thou liest down at night look to Him. Oh! let not thy hopes and fears come between thee and Jesus!"
Spurgeon

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Everything, Everyday

Everything, everyday in life is about the gospel. This is a hard one for me to keep at the forefront of my thoughts as I fly through my day. Is the gospel enough for this moment and in this situation?

Yesterday morning I was headed to the dentist for my four year old, a pediatric dentist at that.
We crawled in the car pretty much on time with not much room for error. I started the car to warm it......it ran for a minutes and then slowly died. I tried to restart it and nothing. My natural response went like this, "Can you believe this? Could there be worse timing? I don't want to deal with this....my husband is out of town.......blah blah blah." You get the idea. Then the verbal rant began in front of my children. Is was a grand example of lack of faith, excessive complaining, anger, ungratefulness...you get the picture. Then, by the grace of God I caught myself. I was able to ask myself "How does the gospel apply right now to this moment?" I asked my children to forgive me for my sin, confessed to God. I ask my seven year old to pray for God to help us. She asked God to start the car. I turned the key and it started like there was nothing wrong with it and off we went. Both my children were encouraged. My son said "Can Jesus fix things that break mama?" My seven year old was beaming ear to ear. She was impressed with God in that moment. Their faith was built in a small moment of life.

Now, my temptation would be to think that my repentance or momentary "good" choice brought about that faith building moment. Ha....that is laughable. God in his perfect plan chose to do as he pleased to build their faith, show me my sin (see the list above) and reveal his gospel in a normal everyday moment of life.
You might be thinking how would God be glorified had it not gone your way :o) Great thought! It didn't go my desired route because I had great faith but because He has great plans. If the car had not started and we missed the dentist (considering what they told me it might have been more pleasant to miss it) then there would have been a a purposed, loving, for my good plan in it. So much of my daily frustrations are found in not believing God truly is in control of even the tiniest moments of my day. He is purposed in each moment for my good and his own glory. If only I could remember that in each moment......but then again it won't be held against me because of mercy. A win-win situation for me!

Now pray for me to apply all this to the dental bill!

Why Blog?

I have been thinking lately about why I started to blog. The main reason is because I enjoy writing. The second reason, I have a desire to see doctrine become a more normal part of my everyday daily life and the lives of other women. Do dirty diapers, laundry and dishes have anything to do with doctrine? How do I bring the gospel to bare on the seeming mundane task of life and it's circumstances? How does the gospel apply in all those moments of life that seem so pointless?

One of my first post on this is here. I have a desire to refocus my blog. I have thought of having more then one blog. One for homeschool and family and then another for areas of doctrine & growth. I have decided against it, the very place I want to apply doctrine better is in the educating of my kids, marriage and everyday family life. Separating them would work against what I am trying to accomplish. Though I hope my musings of this happening in my life effects others, truly it is for me. I find writing out the ways I am growing in this make them more real. It sets what I am learning into my understanding in ways only thinking about them cannot.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm so Proud!

This weekend was our church Christmas play. We send out fliers and invited our community as an outreach. It was a simple but beautiful retelling of the Christmas story. This year my husband was a solo singing shepherd. My daughter a cutie little singing angel. It was fun because our little girl sang with her father. My husband can sing, but it's not his comfort zone to do it in front of tons of people with a microphone. He did a great job. Here's a sneak peek.

He is on the far right.

Ain't she cute!

Most all these little angels are homeschooled. We as a family are so blessed to have a church and homeschool community like we do.

Mr. Handsome shepherd himself.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Perfect Provision

Are you in need if your own choices created your lack? Are you in need if you have basics like food and shelter but no extras. If you've been the recipient of much help in the past does that disqualify you for more help?
What is real need? From a gospel point of view our greatest need is being saved from God's wrath. If you are a believer then your greatest need has been met in the cross of Christ. I think we can get caught up in what we don't have and forget this very important truth. On the other hand by God's mercy, we will all roll out of bed tomorrow and face whatever circumstances God has allowed. You may find yourself not wanting anything monetarily. Maybe you have just what you need or maybe you are wondering how to pay your bills and buy some groceries. The last six years or so has been a time where we lost much, needed lots of help and wondered many times where some basic needs would come from.

Our story is one of provision. God's provision of comfort, mercy and grace during the loss of our son Jonah who would be 5 1/2 right now. God cared for us during the next two losses in 2005 and 2007. He provided hope, peace and a place for my three babies to live forever, sinless and satisfied. I am so grateful for that.

During the last six years those have not been our only needs. The week after Jonah died my husband miraculously passed his examines and started to look for work. He was unemployed for many months. He found a job unrelated to all the time, effort and money he took to get his education. Grateful for that job he took it....though it didn't pay the bills. It has been like this till recently. My husband just six months ago started a job in his field that will hopefully grow to support us adequately. He still works two jobs and I now have one part-time job myself. We still struggle to pay the bills.

Why am I telling you all this? Like I said before, ours is a story of provision. As I look around my living room there are maybe two items that I purchased myself....the rest given to us...God's provision. The car in our driveway...God's provision. My children's mattress' and bed frames....God's provision. Did we work for those things....No! Do we deserve those things....No!
Again this year we are being blessed by people to help us through Christmas. Do my children need nice presents besides underwear and a new set of PJ's under the tree....no. Is it wrong to receive a blessing when you really could survive without it? The beauty of all this, is that God's provision comes through the body of Christ. He has laid his life down on the cross to meet my greatest need. In following that example, my church family has sacrificed for us to meet practical needs. Because of this we are okay and have what we need through God's perfect provision.....people. I long to be the giver. I know there are more ways to give then with resources and we strife to do that as a family but I long for the joy of being able to care in this way for others. It isn't a pay back....that's not possible. It is out of gratitude.

On the flip side I have seen pride in my heart. Part of my motivation to give comes from longing to be out of my circumstances. It's kinda selfish. I have also experienced judgement in this area. What constitutes a need? Do you or I determine where someone needs to be in order to be in need? In our culture there is this underlying deception that if we can sustain ourselves and stand completely independent of others, we are okay and maybe worth more. My experience has taught me just the opposite. Depending brings with it blessings untold. Depending on God and each other no matter how uncomfortable it might be at times.
We are blessed this Christmas by God's perfect provision in his son, born in a humble stable, as well as, by those sinners he came to save.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Grocery Store Musings

My new passion (maybe to strong of a word) is grocery shopping at six-ish in the morning. This morning I rolled out of bed a little before six, threw on some clothes and took off. Everyone in my house still sound asleep. The stores have all gone 24 hours due to Christmas. I wondered the aisles rarely seeing another person.....it was bliss. Trying to navigate the pasta aisle mid-day or evening is reminiscent of a nightmare for me. I have a friend (you know who you are) who grocery shops early Saturday morning......I've always thought she was crazy. I get it know.
To top that off, I got a great deal on some things. Makes for one happy homemaker. Quiet peaceful large birth aisles and more money in my pocket. I feel all warm and fuzzy :o)
I will miss when the stores go back to normal hours. I've always wanted to go shopping at 2am but never actually done it. Maybe this will be the year.

Quotation Friday


Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.
Job 5:7


And call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.
Psalm 50:15

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Meme

Melanie tagged me for this Meme. Consider yourself tagged if you are reading this and haven't been tagged by someone else :o). Let me know in the comments so I can take a look.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.....I think I like the well wrapped gift the most

2. Real tree or artificial? Real....we like to bundle up and go to a U-cut farm.

3. When do you put up your tree? The first weekend in December.

4. When do you take the tree down? Right after Christmas if we are home....if not by New Year.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes....I really like eggnog! I'd like some right now.

6. Favourite gift received as a child? I can't really recall one.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes

8. Hardest person to buy for? Me...I never know what I want :o)

9. Easiest person to buy for? The kids

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A really ugly sweater one year.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail...I like the in your hand kind of greeting.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Probably White Christmas....the sisters number is my favorite.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The end of November usually.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Don't think so.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? Turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes plus apple pie.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear...the red colored lights always look pink to me and I am not into pink on my Christmas tree LOL!

17. Favorite Christmas song? White Christmas, Away in a Manger and I like Harry Connick JR. Christmas music.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Prefer to stay home but the only family member that lives far away.....we usually travel at some point. This year we are staying home Christmas Day. I am excited.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? No :o)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning but we do open one gift before bed.....it's always new PJ's for the kids, a little family tradition.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Well with out being scrooge....that Santa is the focus. I feel bad for the real Saint Nicholas who had a real life that most don't know about because of the flying red chubby guy. I also don't care for how grumpy people get in the Christmas rush. Close to Christmas I shop at 5-6 am or 10-12 midnight. Love those 24 hour stores.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? Can't think of one.

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Those blow up yard decorations.

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? Homey trees for us, there is a story behind every ornament.

26. What does Christmas mean to you? It is ultimately a fresh reminder that God can down and humbled himself to save us from our sins. I also so enjoy the baking and hanging with my family. The warmth of the fire with a good cup-a something hot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Notes from My Personal Retreat

I had my bi-annual personal retreat a few weeks ago. I came away with a few things that need to be worked on, some spiritual and some practical. One area I am working on is a last few eating habits. I am working toward moving even more processed pre-prepared food out of our house. The big ones to still overcome are store bought granola bars, boxed mac and cheese and certain sauce mixes. I have never enjoyed cooking much until this year. I have tried to see it as more of an experiment then a chore:o) it has helped. Making things from scratch taste so much better too.
Over time I have coverted my family to whole wheat pasta. I have also been searching for a granola bar recipe that had the right ingredients and consistency. I have finally found one. It calls for a cup of sugar but I simply don't use that much. Each time I have made it, I have reduced the sugar. The great thing about this easy to make bar is the consistency. If I want crunchy granola bars I cook it 30 minutes. If I want soft & chewy I bake for only 10-15 minutes. I don't have to change any of the ingredients. We call these granola bars "The Eaton Bar". This is the last name of the person who gave me the recipe (Thanks M!) and the kids think it's funny to call them "The Eat'n Bar" because we eat them. Doesn't take much to amuse my kiddos.

The Eaton Bar
2 1/2 cups whole grain oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (I drop this)
1/2 cup flour (I use W.W.)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips to taste :o)
Mix wet and dry separate, then mix well together
Spread evenly in 9x12 pan
Bake @ 325F for 10-20 minutes
(depending on consistency desired)


It doesn't get any easier. I am thinking about cooking down some cranberries and adding those for a little pizazz. I attempted a homemade Mac and Cheese but it didn't go over well....partly because I made it too saucy. I have had fun finding my own sauces to whip up. I recently found a great Lemon Stir Fry sauce I loved. I am always looking for recipes so bring on the Mac and Cheese and sauces:o)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Please Pray

I just found out that someone opened fire on the Youth With a Mission Base (YWAM) in Denver. This is the base where I served for three years. My husband and I meet and got marriage on that very property, the base director married us. It is a place dear to our hearts. Two staff members were killed and two more wounded. Please pray for their families and for the two wounded to recover.
You can read local coverage here if you so desire.

Thanks for your prayers on their behalf.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Our Day With the Vikings

This week in history we visited the Vikings or Norseman. We made Viking boats as our activity. Little did I know the creative play it would provide. These little Viking ships are the perfect size for playmobile men (and women). We threw a blue sheet over the couch and ventured into the open sea in search of a place to raid or land to discover. We then encountered a huge orange sea monster that attempted to eat us alive (a.k.a. crabby, our stuffed crab). We barely escaped with our lives and then landed on an island with fire breathing dragons (not so much Viking history:o). We got away just in time, to then set sail again on a new adventure. The Vikings are now tucked away at camp till the sun rises tomorrow. Though we know they did not have digital cameras in the time of Eric the Red and his son....we thought you might enjoy a pictoral walk through our Viking day. Please disregard the very Roman soldiers on our dragon island.....we don't have any playmobile Vikings.





Quotation Friday

Precious is the assurance that he changes not!
The wheel of providence revolves but its axle is eternal love.

Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love.

Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Our Weekend

I stood at the kitchen window watching the snow fall, my children building snowmen. Bing singing White Christmas in the back ground; while I sip my first cup of eggnog. The kettle whistling, preparing for cold hands to wrap around a warm cup of cocoa.....it really felt like Christmas this weekend.




On December 1st we started down the road anticipating the baby, who would come to save use from our sins. Each year we use a Jesse Tree to learn about the coming of Jesus weaved all through out the Old Testament...leading up to the birth of Christ. The kids color symbols that represent what we are reading and discussing. They attach it to the pocket each night before bed (gotta love Velcro). It is a beautiful thing to hear my seven year old reading about the coming of her savior.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Quotation Friday

I love words....I see them as a gift. The fact that God chose to give us all we need for life and godliness through His son and a book, the bible, speaks loudly to me. I keep a little black quote book to record those words I come across that have an effect on me.
My heart is to start sharing from this little treasure book on Fridays. I also hope one day to find a better way to categorize them in a beautiful antique book. I love to write and at some point want to take a calligraphy class, then rewrite them all in this notebook I will create. I think it will actually happen once the gray hair starts to come; for now the little black book will have to do.

This is one of my favorites:

"Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it, or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of creed are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the frame; but doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which by assimilation sustains and builds up the body. In us truth must be a living force, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a apart of the woof and warp of our being."
Spurgeon

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Alive!

Boy it's been along time. Never anticipated being AWOL this long, but life happens. I just came away from a 4 day personal retreat that was such a blessing. It was originally planned for two days but due to my husbands job and the location of the grandparents....it lasted two extra days. Though I missed them, it was a productive and relaxing time.
I finally feel like I am unpacked from my last move in May. I have reclaimed my walk-in closet....to be walked in again. I re-looked at our school schedule and family routine to suite my being away two days a week tutoring. I read a bit, watched some movies, exercised as long as I wanted...ummm and let's see.....I planned some Christmas family fun stuff, did some shopping, drank my first Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks (I thought of Stacy over at With Great Joy) and the list goes on. I also spent some time thinking about blogging, books I'd like to read and some spiritual and educational goals. I hope to post some of the details here and there.
Overall is was a wonderful long weekend. I am grateful to have a husband who thinks this is a good idea!

I hoped to get back on the blogging band wagon BUT we woke this morning to a crashed computer. No fear ...my dear computer husband is here! He can fix just about anything....that's why we probably have the oldest "looking" computer on the block. The guts of the computer are not old... he just keeps upgrading and fixing this ancient thing. All this to say, there may be a few hick-ups this week as we re-format and grab everything from the old hard drive.

P.S. Hope everyone had a great American Thanksgiving! Now I can start decorating for Christmas. Though I live in Canada I cannot decorate for Christmas till after American Thanksgiving...once an American always one!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Random Update

Is it Friday already? My last post was last Sunday! I am going to throw out a bit of whats been going on around here. Hopefully it will slow down next week.

* I have started to tutor a 5th grade boy within my church community 2x a week. We as a family are making the adjustments to mama being gone for 4-5 hours per week. It works great because my husband works from home. I am gone over lunch and regular quiet time in our house. So the kids do lunch with dad and have their QT in their rooms and then I am home. It's a great help to us, and this little guy is a great kid! It is really the best case scenario for me to earn a bit of money.

* I have been pricing and sorting all our baby stuff to sell at a swap in our local city. It has been a process getting organized. I will spend the day tomorrow with one of my best buddies making money. Can't beat that! I am considering making it a mini business to buy used items in good shape and resell then at these swaps. We also have a toy store locally that will trade good quality toys for others. So the kids have gone through their rooms before Christmas. I then take them to trade and then we buy their Christmas gifts. They will figure it our one day.... hehe! I am always looking for away to reuse stuff and save a buck.

* I have not gotten my household organized since our two moves this year. I have been working on a plan. My bi-annual personal planning weekend is coming up soon. I am trying to get some things thought through, so I can get them implemented over that weekend. I am re-looking at our schooling that weekend also. I am looking forward to that time....for many reasons. I am so grateful for my husband who makes this happen for me.

* I talked to my best-est dearest friend this week for over an hour. That was a real highlight. I have known her since I was 19 and she lives far away. One of these days I will wrap my arms around her neck and squeeze. We haven't seen each other since my oldest was 6 months. My daughter is now 7 years old.

* I have also been working very hard to cook from scratch and focus on good meals. This has always been struggle for me.

Well that is the gist of my week. And why I haven't been around. I have to find my blogging space again since I am gone two afternoons a week now. I have also found, since I began to use the reader on google I don't comment as much. I don't like that!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Homeschool Ramble

I tend to write when I have come to a conclusion. I do the process and thinking in my head and then the finished product is the writing. This post will be entirely different. I am writing to process.
Those of you who know me in real life may find this post disturbing (LOL!) because I am beginning to question my commitment to the Classical approach in educating my children. GASP! I am not sure I have been as faithful to the method as I thought all along. Remember as I write I am thinking with words :o)....no conclusions as of yet.

I have mostly followed "The Well Trained Mind" by S.W. Bauer starting in grade one. This is what I am referencing as classical. I taught my daughter to read at four, very naturally through books and everyday life. I used Ruth Beethchicks Three R's to get me started. My daughter is a veracious reader at seven years old. I thought it was just her, but my four year old son is on his way to learning to read with the same method. They are very different children and as far as I can tell, different learners too. I think being read too, and seeing others read often is a part of their success. But the process wasn't step by step but a natural flow of life and practice when it got to that stage.

So we have established I have a good reader. I spend much time "teaching" language to my seven year old who is an above grade level reader. Why? She is so young. She is in grade three spelling and rarely misses a word. Do I need to spent time on spelling when it is natural to her? What I am struggling with is educating the creativity and curiosity right out of my children. We have grammar at seven, with spelling, language review, cursive, creative writing and then all the language associated with history and science. Some body pull me off this train!
Where is my child learning through discovery, creativity and just plan interest? Does every thing need to be systematic? There isn't much time left over for fun and creativity. We have a workbook for spelling, for math, for language review, for creative writing and then narrations for history and science and....and....and....and .....you get the idea. My seven old is smart as a whip, no doubt she can do all that work........ but should she be doing all that work?

As I said before this is a processing post. I am not bashing the classical method at all...I rather like it. I am simply struggling with academics needing to be the main priority in young children, at the expense of creativity and how that encourages original thought and ideas. I am aware that young people need input, and lots of it, but I want my children to have space to create and be a child. Trust me, the academics are not going away and we will do them. I am battling with the timing. I want to just let her read and read and enjoy her desire to create.

The first books I read when I started homeschooling were Charlotte Mason's. I so identified with her method but yet I do the same with Classical. A balance is the best, I guess. I think I have lost a bit of that balance and begun to depend more on getting things done, then learning and living. I want our learning to be organic with direction. Does that make sense?

If you are still reading...I am surprised but grateful. These truly are ramblings of a mama who simply wants to give her kids the best learning experience she can......starting with the cross and grace, moving onto creative God glorifying learning.

I would love to hear about your own thoughts and conclusions on this .

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Take the Challenge

I want to introduce you to a fairly new blog and my friend at Keeper of the Home. I have been challenged and encouraged to serve and care for my family in very practical ways by reading her blog. She currently has a Savvy Spending Challenge. I have decided to take it and see what I can save in our grocery/ household budget.
This is an area where I am always thinking and trying to get the best bang for my buck. Lately though, I have become lazy about it. There have been circumstances to cause that, like loosing this last baby and moving twice in six months (don't recommend that). My only excuse now is sheer laziness and lack of being purposeful.
I have recently started tutoring another home school child in our church community which brings in more income. Our desire is to not include that extra income into our current budget and make it all savings. I am looking forward to seeing the fruit of making better choices and continuing to grow in living a contented life with what God has given us. Financially and family size :o)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Uhhhh??

I visited my friend Melanie today to discover this blog reading check. I was shocked at the reading level of my blog, considering I have never taken a college course in my life. The one exception being college level biology in high school a LONG time ago.

Maybe they made a mistake LOL!


cash advance

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect

This statement has always bothered me. Because practice doesn't make things perfect. Practice makes improvements, changes or progress but perfection? Who are we trying to fool, yet my nature will try to attain it. There is only one kind of perfection; it was displayed on the cross and delivered with the utmost grace and mercy. We will never taste true satisfying perfection until that day when we see Him face to face. That perfection will be all about Him....Oh what a day! When I think on this, I cannot imagine thinking from a sinless point of view.

Now that we have laid this thought against the cross......what are we practicing? Do we practice what we already know or are we waiting for that magical moment to appear that wipes away the need to move and do? Prior to my recent post about Discontent, I had been waiting for some moment in time where I would find relief from the feelings of discontent, simply by waiting and giving myself time. Though there is wisdom in giving ones self time for a season, I have been challenged to see contentment as a pursuit. I am to be content in all things....am I practicing that? Practice and pursuit are action words. How am I taking action to be content on a daily basis? If I am feeding myself God's truth am I then practicing it in the moments of my day? Am I chasing it down and applying it to my words, responsibilities and relationships? Am I making financial choices that back up the circumstance I am to pursue contentment within? Is my thought life aligned with where I am heading.......toward contentment in what God has allowed or living in the place I wish I were?

No one is perfect in their practice but by God's grace I want to be available and joy filled for His purposes. One of the biggest hindrances I have found to this is immobility.......a lack of purposefulness in pursuing. Not just making a mental decision to follow truth but putting one foot in front of the other toward that truth.


One way I am pursuing my contentment is by letting go of the baby stuff. This isn't the answer for everyone but it is for me. Holding onto it feeds the "what if" world that can be so bad for my heart. What if my husband changes his mind? What if we some how get pregnant again? What if we adopt? All of these things are a pursuit of what "I want" not God's perfect plan and goodness to me right now....which is being done with having children. That stuff I hold onto is a comfort issue. It's just stuff and can be replaced "if" God allows us in what ever form to be blessed with another child. Letting go of this has brought hope. A knowing that God will provide the ability to let it go, and all that is needed if our circumstance changes. This is one of those places where I have experienced a peace that passed my mental ability to understand.

It could easily be thought that emotions are wrong in this "practicing"....which wouldn't be the case. They are so much apart of the process and growing. They are a gift from God. When they become the base camp from which I make my decisions and choices...that's when they cease to be a blessing. When I neglect others due to how I feel I am in big trouble!


What a good and faithful savior! Not only to provide all I need for life and godliness, but mostly because even if I fall short in my pursuit of contentment (which I will), He will never leave nor forsake me. This mercy swallows me at times!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pictorial Portfolio 1

I submit a Homeschool portfolio three times a year where I live. Instead of mailing photos it's more fun to post them here and send a link. Here are some of the pictures from the first few months of our school year.

This is the location we did our Community Profile this summer. We learned about the industry and characteristics of Kamloops. It was cool to actually visit for real and see good friends too:o)

A little fall art.

The making of a flower bouquet from pipe cleaners.

This was an activity on learning linking verbs. We took the words to made proper sentences and linked them together.

Another activity building sentences and identifying the parts.

What we caught at the pumpkin patch.

This was a fun experiment on making a raindrop fall. This is the second picture. She is putting the drops of water together to see how long it takes for it to get heavy enough to rain and drop.

This is the first step (I uploaded backward). You put little drops of water on the plastic lid and flip it quickly and go on to step two above.

This is our learning about erosion. We poured water over the flour (dirt) to see how the water would change the surface of the earth. We added the rocks secondly to see if they helped slow down the process. We discovered it does!

This is the effect of wind on the earths surface. Always use a straw when using flour in this activity....trust me!

This was our first attempt at whole wheat homemade perogies. It was my daughter's idea. She wanted to make them for dinner. They were good! We used potatoes, light cottage cheese, light cheddar cheese, garlic and onions. We surprised ourselves. Now that she is getting older we are cooking more together.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Day After

I am big on tradition. One of our favorite traditions is the day after Halloween. We don't do the normal Halloween celebrations. We have decided to see it as just another day. Not right or wrong, just how we've decided to do it.
In our family the biggest thing about October 31st is really the day after. We get up and get dressed. Grab breakfast and go out the door. We swing by Timmy's (Tim Horton's is a coffee shop in Canada) for a coffee and a donut. We then proceed to the stores to find treasured dress up clothes for the year. Most costumes are 50-75% off the day after Halloween.
Here are the finds from our treasure hunt.
Makes for very happy kiddos!




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

To day is a day the changed history forever. It also changed our daily lives and provided a freedom I can easily take for granted. Martin Luther and many others risked their lives for the truth. I am so grateful for that.

Tim Challies has multiple links on his blog related to this day. Enjoy!

P.S. Has anyone thought of throwing a Reformation Party instead of making it about Halloween? This is the second year I've seriously considered it. :o)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spurgeon

"Think not that Christ hath placed His joys on heavenly shelves that we may climb up to them for ourselves, but He draws near, and sheds His peace abroad in our hearts. O Christian, if thou art to-night labouring under deep distresses, thy Father does not give thee promises and then leave thee to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well, but the promises He has written in the Word He will write anew on your heart. He will manifest His love to you, and by His blessed Spirit, dispel your cares and troubles. Be it known unto thee, O mourner, that it is God's prerogative to wipe every tear from the eye of His people."

"Glorious gospel! which provides everything for the helpless, which draws nigh to us when we cannot reach after it--brings us grace before we seek for grace!"

This has been refreshing my soul this week. I am grateful to be reminded again that I don't have to labor and climb for His joy. His promises are true and in Him is rest. He provides it all!
Read the entire entry here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Day of Rest

I have been thinking about having a sabbath day lately. There really isn't one currently, if I am honest. I know there are differing opinions on which actual day is the sabbath but to me this isn't all that important. Simply keeping a sabbath and having a day set aside for rest from the busyness of life is important. I came across this post at Preschoolers and Peace which further fueled my thoughts.

I was wondering if anyone else keeps a sabbath day? If so, how did you come to that place and what does that day look like. I am not looking for the "right" way, just interested in learning from others and growing in my understanding. I am open to everyones thoughts as long as we are nice :o)

My husband and I have recently talked about making sure we have no unnecessary work on Sunday after church. I have typically planned school for the week on Sunday afternoon but now am working it into my week. Another goal at this point is to make sure all the laundry is done and away by Saturdays end. We are going to pre-pack for church on Sunday mornings and have any meal stuff ready to go. I have a feeling this habit is going to take me awhile to change. We have no desire to make this a law and become legalistic. The heart is to rest and in a way refocus on what is priority...family and the Lord.

Friday, October 26, 2007

His Kingdom Come

I read this post over at Solo Femininity this morning. Our church is growing and pursuing how to better reach those around us with the gospel. We had a great discussion this week in our care group meeting about this very thing. This post encouraged and challenged me.

Our discussion has really prompted me to think. Our family lifestyle does not lend to natural contact with non Christians. My husband works at home, we homeschool our children and I stay at home to help with both those things. When do I have natural contact....very rarely. The grocery store....the doctors office.....all places where real conversation is difficult to start and continue for any real length of time. We are still thinking through this and praying, knowing God will give use some ideas. It is so easy to get so caught up in the go-go and tasks of life that I don't even see the people around me when I do go out.

This quote from a recent message at our church really effected my thinking about people.

Quote by Rhondi Lauterback (not being mindful and ready to preach the gospel)


"I’m figuring out my drink order, counting my change to see if I can add an extra
shot of caffeine to my day. “Grande,” I mumble, barely looking up. “Make that a
triple shot,” finishing the mental math. I plunk my change into his extended palm,
mentally check my to do list and calculate the next three stops I am going to
make. Then a still, small voice stops me. I love him. Surprised, I look around.
Who, Lord? Him? I see the kid in front of me for the first time. A person. Made in
God’s image. I almost missed him.
What keeps me from seeking the lost? At least half the time the answer is that I
don’t even see them. I often don’t see the person in front of me as lost. I barely
even see him as a person. I may see him as an interruption or an obstacle or a
means to my ends for the day. I may see him as a “sinner” and label the sin
without a second thought. I may even see him as my evangelism project. But a
person?"

(Sorry, can't get the quote to parapgraph properly)


God give me the vision to see more then myself...... to see your purpose and Kingdom come every time I go out my front door.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Discontent

Recently there was a sermon on God's sovereignty at my church. Fortunately for my ever forgetful mind these are not rare occasions. As I thought through what was said and the truth I heard, I was convicted. Ultimately everything in this life comes down to if we believe God is in absolute control and if He is absolutely good. There are few things that fall outside these two doctrines of scripture. If they get mixed up or distorted it can cause a lot of trouble. I speak from experience
My area of discontent (really defined as; I am not sure God's plan is perfect or good) is in not having anymore children biologically. We are done. This is largely my husbands decision based on many hours of talking this through and prayer. I don't know that I will ever "be done" with wanting more children. Maybe when I am 80 and need two new hips and have no teeth left I will have lost the desire. There are many ways I could look at this decision. I could get mad and angry. I could manipulate him. I could whine all the time and complain. I could trust God's perfect sovereignty and pursue contentment.
I am to my best ability and by grace trying to trust God and find my peace in Him and not anything else. I realized that either God will change my husbands heart or He will change (and is) mine. If I really trust Him, this too will come to pass as it should. My husbands decisions are part of the plan. If I truly believe God is good then this is what is best for me, my husband, my two living children and my three with Jesus. Can this kind of longing and loss really be good? Crazy as it sounds, I don't only know it to be good in my understanding, but lately my heart has been learning to rejoice in this goodness that was never part of my plan.
In fact much of my current life was not part of my plan. I will be 40 in about 2 years and I am no where near where I dreamed I would be. I dreamed of a life on the mission field and I live in the suburbs of a large Canadian city ( I really don't like the city). I never dreamed my foreign mission field would be Canada. I was hoping for something a little more exotic. I always wanted six children. I never dreamed when I started having kids that I would loose more then I kept. I always hoped to be financially well off by this time in my life....well ain't happened yet. I have been tempted lately to compare my dreams with God's perfect plan. It has done nothing but breed discontent.

Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

As time has gone on I have become more content with what God has for me. My heart recently changed in how I saw "what has happened to me". I have no idea what will happen even tomorrow much less five years from now. If God is in control...which He is AND if He is good...which he overwhelmingly is.....then all I have for tomorrow is hope! I tended to focus on what was gone and not the character of God. As I continue to get this, it really seems possible to have joy and rejoicing in the worst of situations...even watching your child go to heaven. Even more, living without all three children that I miss daily. There is joy in it, not because it doesn't hurt or cause me to grieve, but because it is what is perfect and best for me and them. It is, as it should be. There is such rest in that.

I don't know if this is really coming across clearly or not. All I know is I deserve wrath and He has given life to me and all my children. When I begin to feel life isn't fair, is hard or just plain stinks, I think of how I really deserve nothing I have. My sin makes me a target for wrath and yet by mercy I will never come close to tasting that wrath. Amazing!

These are three questions from the sermon to ask yourself when things aren't going your way:

  • What didn't I get that I was expecting, desiring, craving?
  • What did I not receive that I felt I deserved?
  • What was said about me or done to me that is worse then my many sins against God?

Forever indebted to mercy!! Grateful for santicfication and that he never leaves me where I am, but draws me closer everyday. He is at work ALL the time in me and you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Sczebel Clan

I just came across this interview with Pat, Josh and Joel. These guys and their family are some of our dearest friends. I am so grateful to be serving God in the same body of believers. It is a privilege!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I did it!

I am very proud of myself! I learned how to use Google reader and create an avatar. It is a huge accomplishment for me.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Notebook

This year, with my children and their cousins, we started a Thanksgiving notebook. Each child takes a sheet of paper and writes, draws and designs a page telling what they are thankful for in that year. I so enjoy building traditions. I got the idea from a post over at With Great Joy. She keeps a Thanksgiving journal with her family. We used to do a tree on the wall with things we were thankful for but I found I wasn't willing to save it due to size. We skipped the tree this year but I plan to do that yearly as well just for fun. We can never have to many opportunities to be thankful. Here are a few of the pages.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Sleeping "Handsome"


Chili and Cornbread

I am posting a recipe for the Recipe Round-Up hosted my friend over at Motherhood Apologia. The round up is for freezer recipes....brrrrrr! I am someone who is s-l-o-w-l-y growing into to liking to cook. It's a real answer to prayer because I am going to be doing it for the rest of my life. By God's grace I have begun to see it as a form of creativity.....a year ago I would have laughed at that idea.
My Chili recipe is easy and a favorite around here. We add shredded cheese and sour cream. I also make corn bread and salad but not necessary. I freeze it either in single servings for lunches based on how much there is leftover or on one serving for a complete meal. I usually make a double batch when I make it. What I love about this recipe is it doesn't take all day to make. You cook the meat and simmer 20 minutes and your done. It tastes so good too!

Chili

1 pound lean ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. green pepper
1 clove garlic (I add 3 ish but we love garlic)
1 16 oz. can of tomatoes cut up
1 16 oz. can dark kidney beans drained
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil (fresh is good too)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook beef, onion, pepper and garlic till meat is brown. Drain if needed. Stir in undrained tomatoes, drained beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings

Corn Bread (not for freezing but easy and yummy)

1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. corn meal
2 tablespoons sugar (I always do less)
4 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 egg slightly beaten

Heat oven to 425 F. Grease 8-9 inch square pan (round works fine too). Combine flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients beating by hand just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 425 for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 9 servings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oh My......

Where has the time gone. I just can't get this blogging thing together again. I stopped blogging in the morning because I wasn't getting school done. When we lost our last baby our life routine was thrown for a loop and I am trying to get back to some consistency. I found if i blogged in the morning we started school too late and I also wasn't parenting as I should. If I am going to be "with" my kids..... my face can't be sucked into the computer at 8 am.
I have been getting back into exercise and more focused personal quiet times. And no blogging till the afternoons. Something always comes up in the afternoons. All this just to say...I miss blogging and will get this together at some point. My hearts desire is to put my kids and my health first.....and blogging when I get to it but I still love it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

First Annual Thanksgiving Arm Wrestling Tournament

Has it been over a week since my last post? Between being out of town, a child with the flu and my latest excursion in canning apple butter.....I have neglected the blog world. This year we started two new traditions at Thanksgiving. The first being the kids Thanksgiving Book.....they make a page of what they are thankful for that year (pics on that later). Another tradition popped up spontaneously, a bunch of thirty somethings sitting around relaxing and you never know what may happen. My brother-in-law is the reigning male arm wrestling champ. And yours truly...... is the reigning family female arm wrestling champion. I wear my title with pride and dignity!





Thursday, October 04, 2007

Canadian Thanksgiving

We are off this afternoon to visit family for Thanksgiving Canadian style. Since living in Canada I have accepted that the holiday here, is very different then the States. It just doesn't seem as important here. Oh well, the way I look at it, I get to celebrate twice....which means I get turkey and pies twice.
My most favorite part about Thanksgiving is making pies. I enjoy the process of making them, smelling them in the oven and then eating them. I also like tradition. This year I plan to get all the cousins to make a notebook page (yes I am a homeschooler) of the things they are thankful for....then year after year compile them in a notebook. It should be such fun when they grow up to look through those as a family.
Hope you have a great weekend....I will be making pies and eating turkey.

This is my favorite no fail pie pastry ...if anyone wants to try a pie this weekend.

Pie Pastry

5 cups flour
1 cup margarine
1 cup lard (forgive me...I was born in the southern USA)
1/2 baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup COLD water

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder then add margarine and lard. Blend in with fork or your fingers till crumbling. Add vinegar and 1 cup COLD water and form into dough. This makes 5-6 individual crust at a time. Roll on floured surface and make your pie. I form the left over into balls enough for individual crust and freeze. Defrost and roll for you next pie!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007